Our gardens are in bloom, so now's the time to take advantage and enjoy them with some simple arrangements.
Tortoise owner, Keiko, shows us how she is arranging her flowers at home.
E: What are you using for this type of flower arrangement?
K: I am of course using Hasami Porcelain bowls. Right now, I am using the deep bowls in 5'' and 7'' diameter, but you can use the shallow bowls as well. The other key tool is the kenzan. It's an ikebana tool that are called 'frogs' in English, and they are flat round discs with small spikes to hold up your flowers. We used to sell kenzans at Tortoise, but we are currently sold out. I found mine online here: 2.4'' kenzan and 3.25'' kenzan.
E: How do you arrange the flowers? What is your technique?
K: I don't have a special technique. You should have fun and enjoy the process. First, gather the flowers you want to arrange and cut the stems at a slant. You can gather the leaves as well, they add to the arrangement and do a good job of hiding the kenzan so its discrete. Place the kenzan in the bowl, then start pushing the stems into the spikes - or just in-between - so they stand up. After you've arranged it, fill the bowl up with enough water that it fully covers the kenzan, otherwise your plants will dry out.
E: What do you think is the biggest difference between arranging flowers in this way versus a vase? Do you have a preference?
K: I think the difference is something like enjoying a 2-dimensional experience versus a 3-dimensional one. When you put flowers in a vase, they usually slant to one side or they all stand very uniform. With this type of arrangement, I enjoy the airy appearance of the flowers. When flowers are growing in your garden, they're beautiful because there's a sense of space and air around them. You can play around with kenzan in a way that you can't play around with a normal vase. Also, the flowers seem to last a little longer in a kenzan!
E: Does any flower work for a flower arrangement?
K: I think so, sure! Sometimes, the stems will be quite thin like my roses, so they may be difficult to stick into the needle - but yes, many different flowers will work. I really love the Nasturtium flower that are growing wild in my garden right now! They're wild because this spring they started spreading and popping up everywhere. I love their bright happy color.
K: We used to do flower arrangement classes on Abbot Kinney with a teacher named Mikiko. My hope is to someday do something similar at our Mar Vista location when things return to normal. Until then I think this is a nice easy entry into flower arrangement since the materials are very easy to obtain!
Thank you, Keiko-san for sharing your arrangements and tips with us! We hope others will follow!